20O MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE
they can retire in wealth and comfort"ówords that might
have been written for a great part of the villadom that is living
in retirement in Dairen or the Shanghai Settlements. He said
that because of the lack of a system, "people were promoted
according to their party connections, and were obliged to
divert their attention to social entertainments rather than the
fulfilment of the law." How true these words are to-day, only
officials and official candidates themselves know.
There was an important passage which contained the very
interesting phrase kungmin ("public citizen") and which tried
to account for the general apathy and indifference of the
people toward their national affairs. He said in effect: "Now
you send people to fight. They will be killed whether they go
forward or turn back. That is dangerous for them. You ask
them to forsake their own private pursuits and join the military
service, and when they are poor, those above do not pay them
any attention. Of course, they remain poor. Now who likes
to be in danger and poverty? Naturally, they will try to keep
away from you. Therefore they will mind their own business
and will be interested in building their own houses and will
try to avoid war. By avoiding war, they will have security.
But by practising graft and bribery, they can become rich and
secure themselves for life. Now who would not like to be
wealthy and to live in peace? And how can you prevent them
from seeking peace and wealth? This is the reason why there are so
few public citizens and so many private individuals,"
It is still true to-day that we have too few public citizens and
too many private individuals and the reason is to be found in
the lack of adequate legal protection. It has nothing to do with
morals. The evil lies in the system. When it is too dangerous
for a man to be too public-spirited, it is natural that he should
take an apathetic attitude toward national affairs, and when
there is no punishment for greedy and corrupt officials, it is too
much to ask of human nature that they should not be corrupt.
Hence Hanfeitse believed in the establishment of an "inviol-
able law which should apply to both the ruler and the ruled
alike." He believed that the law should be supreme, that all
people should be equal before the law, and that this law should
be applied in place of personal preferences and connections.